Job titles help organizations manage their human capital and have far-reaching implications for employees’ identities. Because titles do not always reflect the unique value that employees bring to their jobs, some organizations have recently experimented with encouraging employees to create their own job titles. To explore the psychological implications of self- reflective job titles, we conducted field research combining inductive qualitative and deductive experimental methods. In Study 1, a qualitative study at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, we were surprised to learn that employees experienced self-reflective job titles as reducing their emotional exhaustion. We triangulated interviews, observations, and archival documents to identify three explanatory mechanisms through which self-reflective job titles may operate: self-verification, psychological safety, and external rapport. In Study 2, a field quasi-experiment within a healthcare system, we found that employees who created self-reflective job titles experienced less emotional exhaustion five weeks later, whereas employees in two control groups did not. These effects were mediated by increases in self-verification and psychological safety, but not external rapport. Our research suggests that self-reflective job titles can be important vehicles for identity expression and stress reduction, offering meaningful implications for research on job titles, identity, and emotional exhaustion.
As employees increasingly interact with their professional contacts on online social networks that are personal in nature, such as Facebook or Twitter, they are likely to experience a collision of their professional and personal identities that is unique to this new and expanding social space. In particular, online social networks present employees with boundary management and identity negotiation opportunities and challenges, because they invite non-tailored self-disclosure to broad audiences, while offering few of the physical and social cues that normally guide social interactions. How and why do employees manage the boundaries between their professional and personal identities in online social networks, and how do these behaviors impact the way they are regarded by professional contacts? We build a framework to theorize about how work-nonwork boundary preferences and self-evaluation motives drive the adoption of four archetypical sets of online boundary management behaviors (open, audience, content, and hybrid), and the consequences of these behaviors for respect and liking in professional relationships. Content and hybrid behaviors are more likely to increase respect and liking than open and audience behaviors; audience and hybrid behaviors are less risky for respect and liking than open and content behaviors but more difficult to maintain over time.
Scholars have identified benefits of viewing work as a calling, but little research has explored the notion that people are frequently unable to work in occupations that answer their callings. To develop propositions on how individuals experience and pursue unanswered callings, we conducted a qualitative study based on interviews with 31 employees across a variety of occupations. We distinguish between two types of unanswered callings—missed callings and additional callings—and propose that individuals pursue these unanswered callings by employing five different techniques to craft their jobs (task emphasizing, job expanding, and role reframing) and their leisure time (vicarious experiencing and hobby participating). We also propose that individuals experience these techniques as facilitating the kinds of pleasant psychological states of enjoyment and meaning that they associate with pursuing their unanswered callings, but also as leading to unpleasant states of regret over forgone fulfillment of their unanswered callings and stress due to difficulties in pursuing their unanswered callings. These propositions have important implications for theory and future research on callings, job crafting, and self-regulation processes.
We utilize a qualitative study of 33 employees in for-profit and non-profit organizations to elaborate theory on job crafting. We specifically focus on how employees at different ranks describe perceiving and adapting to challenges in the execution of job crafting. Elaborating the challenges employees perceive in job crafting and their responses to them details the adaptive action that may be necessary for job crafting to occur. Specifically, our findings suggest that higher-rank employees tend to see the challenges they face in job crafting as located in their own expectations of how they and others should spend their time, while lower-rank employees tend to see their challenges as located in their prescribed jobs and others’ expectations of them. The nature of each group’s perceived challenges is related to the adaptive moves that they make to overcome them, such that higher-rank employees adapt their own expectations and behaviors to make do with perceived opportunities to job craft at work, while lower-rank employees adapt others’ expectations and behaviors to create opportunities to job craft. Our elaborated theory presents a socially embedded account of job crafting as a proactive and adaptive process that is shaped by employees’ structural location in the organization.